Zacks Investment Research Downgrades CNO Financial Group Inc (CNO) to Sell

Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of CNO Financial Group Inc (NYSE:CNO) from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research report sent to investors on Monday.

According to Zacks, “CNO Financial’s low market share in some product lines poses the risk of limiting business opportunities going forward. Also, suspension of its share buyback plan for this year might have affected bottom line. The company is set to release its first quarter results on Apr 26. Zacks Rank #4  and a negative earnings ESP of 3.23% reduces the likelihood for a beat. However, the shares of CNO Financial gained 5% compared with 2.1% lost by the Multi line insurance industry year to date. Strong underwriting results and efficient capital management supported the stock price appreciation. The company is presently strategizing for the reduction of long-term care exposure via run-off of existing non-performing businesses, reinsurance and increasing focus on growth of other potential business lines. Continuous investment in technological innovations in terms of product line upgrades helped the company to build a strong position in the market.”

Several other equities analysts have also weighed in on CNO. Wells Fargo & Co lowered shares of CNO Financial Group from an outperform rating to a market perform rating in a report on Wednesday, January 11th. Deutsche Bank AG increased their price objective on shares of CNO Financial Group from $18.00 to $19.00 and gave the company a hold rating in a report on Monday, January 23rd. Citigroup Inc initiated coverage on shares of CNO Financial Group in a report on Thursday, January 26th. They issued a neutral rating and a $21.00 price objective on the stock. BTIG Research restated a hold rating on shares of CNO Financial Group in a report on Thursday, February 9th. Finally, Keefe, Bruyette & Woods set a $22.00 target price on shares of CNO Financial Group and gave the company a hold rating in a research note on Friday, March 17th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have given a hold rating and one has issued a buy rating to the company. The company has an average rating of Hold and an average price target of $19.63.

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Shares of CNO Financial Group (NYSE:CNO) opened at 20.71 on Monday. CNO Financial Group has a 1-year low of $14.30 and a 1-year high of $21.70. The company has a 50-day moving average price of $20.48 and a 200-day moving average price of $18.79. The stock has a market cap of $3.60 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 10.30 and a beta of 1.26.

CNO Financial Group (NYSE:CNO) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, February 7th. The financial services provider reported $0.35 earnings per share for the quarter, missing the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.39 by $0.04. CNO Financial Group had a net margin of 8.99% and a return on equity of 5.40%. The business earned $1 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $972.88 million. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company earned $0.52 earnings per share. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 3.6% on a year-over-year basis. On average, equities analysts expect that CNO Financial Group will post $1.48 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

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The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, March 24th. Shareholders of record on Friday, March 10th were paid a $0.08 dividend. This represents a $0.32 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.55%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Wednesday, March 8th. CNO Financial Group’s payout ratio is presently 15.76%.

In other news, CEO Edward J. Bonach sold 25,583 shares of the stock in a transaction on Wednesday, March 8th. The shares were sold at an average price of $20.63, for a total transaction of $527,777.29. Following the completion of the sale, the chief executive officer now owns 480,431 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $9,911,291.53. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, Director Neal C. Schneider sold 29,382 shares of the stock in a transaction on Tuesday, February 28th. The stock was sold at an average price of $21.07, for a total transaction of $619,078.74. Following the sale, the director now directly owns 90,273 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $1,902,052.11. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold 101,065 shares of company stock valued at $2,115,404 in the last ninety days. Insiders own 2.20% of the company’s stock.

Several large investors have recently modified their holdings of the company. Louisiana State Employees Retirement System increased its stake in shares of CNO Financial Group by 2.3% in the first quarter. Louisiana State Employees Retirement System now owns 43,900 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $900,000 after buying an additional 1,000 shares in the last quarter. Capstone Asset Management Co. increased its stake in shares of CNO Financial Group by 2.0% in the first quarter. Capstone Asset Management Co. now owns 24,558 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $503,000 after buying an additional 480 shares in the last quarter. Bank of Montreal Can increased its stake in shares of CNO Financial Group by 50.8% in the first quarter. Bank of Montreal Can now owns 189,886 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $3,893,000 after buying an additional 63,972 shares in the last quarter. Teachers Advisors LLC increased its stake in shares of CNO Financial Group by 23.8% in the fourth quarter. Teachers Advisors LLC now owns 365,138 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $6,992,000 after buying an additional 70,215 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Norges Bank bought a new stake in shares of CNO Financial Group during the fourth quarter valued at about $38,927,000. 97.17% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

CNO Financial Group Company Profile

CNO Financial Group, Inc is a holding company for a group of insurance companies operating throughout the United States that develops, markets and administers health insurance, annuity, individual life insurance and other insurance products. The Company’s segments include Bankers Life, Washington National and Colonial Penn.

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